Statue of Liberty reopens on Independence Day

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "It's an opportunity to remind ourselves, of how lucky we are."

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The Statue of Liberty, shut last year after a huge storm, has reopened to the public as Americans everywhere mark Independence Day.

Crowds are flocking once again to see the New York monument, which was swamped by tidal surges during post-tropical cyclone Sandy in October.

Events were also held in Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia and New Orleans to mark the US holiday.

Security precautions will be tight at major parades and fireworks displays.

The 46-m (151-ft) Statue of Liberty reopened on Thursday morning at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by New York's mayor.

Most of Liberty Island, the attraction's home off lower Manhattan, was deluged by last autumn's powerful storm.

'Sense of renewal'

Although the 127-year-old Lady Liberty herself was unscathed, there was widespread damage to her 12-acre (five-hectare) site.

Railings, docks and paving stones were smashed, while electrical systems, sewerage and boilers were wrecked.

Hundreds of National Park Service workers have been cleaning up the mud and debris, with some repairs still under way.

Fireworks for Independence Day are seen in Union Beach, New Jersey, on 3 July 2013 In New Jersey, Independence Day celebrations began a day early

The neighbouring Ellis Island, once the nation's busiest gateway and home to a famous immigration museum, suffered far worse in the storm and remains closed.

The damage to both islands has been estimated at $59m (£39m).

"This to us, Liberty Island, is really about a rebirth," Heather Leykam, who came to see the statue with her husband and three children from their home in Brooklyn, told the Associated Press news agency.

"It is a sense of renewal for the city and the country."

New York City staged its annual fireworks display over the Hudson River with live performances by Taylor Swift and others.

Radiation scanners

Across the country, star-spangled bunting was rolled out for celebrations, picnics and barbecues.

Boston staged its first major public gathering since the deadly bombings at the city's marathon on 15 April. Law enforcement officials have said those blasts were originally intended for 4 July.

A US national security official told Reuters news agency on Wednesday that intelligence agencies were unaware of any plot timed to coincide with the holiday.

Police used hand-held chemical detectors, radiation scanners and camera surveillance to screen crowds at some of Thursday's events.

In Washington, a 17-minute fireworks display took place on the National Mall with live music by Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond.

Independence Day commemorates the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776 from Great Britain during the war of the American Revolution.

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